Wednesday, November 09, 2011

There are things I will never understand

A 2008 photo from the start of the development.  These are 200-year-old live oak trees, destroyed.  Then the real estate crash halted the project until this year (2011)

The  development across our town highway is back in gear.

In 2008, a different developer had Big Plans, and cleared and paved it.  Then 2008 happened and he tanked.  Another developer bought it from him recently and the voice of the buzz saw now echoes through the land.

As I've mentioned before, there's a strip of woodland between us and that highway.

The new developer is building houses along that strip of land, above where I put the Wi-Fi sign, and wants to do clearing about where I've placed the "Woods" label

So the doorbell rings.

"I'm here to offer the services of the developer.  He'd like his residents to have a view of the marsh, and he's offering to clean out that tangle of vines and growth and brush on your lot, at his expense."

Understandable from his point of view, but no, no, a thousand times NO.

To be polite, I went out there and let him show me what the developer was talking about, and it would really be carefully done, and would not hurt any trees.

Just one problem though.  That wood, with its impenetrable wild tangle, is ALL THAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND STATE PARK CAMPER INCURSION.  It is also all that stands between us and the endless endless road noise.

He could not get it.  He could not comprehend what I was saying.  Clearing the marsh end of that wood, so it's still a wood, but more manicured and park-like, would put traffic and its noise right in our eyes and ears.  It barely dulls the noise now.

A lovely clear view for the buyers of those houses, through our wood to the marsh, would mean a hideous clear view in the other direction, for us, of their houses, and the cars whooshing by. Tree trunks, no matter how many, won't help.

"But it's a trashy mess" was his, and I'm sure, many peoples' feelings about wild undergrowth. He really thought the appearance was not only bad, but that the buffering ability was irrelevant to living here.

People often say "I can't understand his point of view," when what they really mean is "I disagree with it," but this is a case in which I really mean it;

I can't understand people who think that woods are ugly;  that nature is too messy.  That wildness is  visually unappealing and needs to be neatened up.

Are we really the same species?  Do others really not see the beauty in those brambles and wildflowers?  Or at least see the value they have as a border to an estuary?

I want to leave this house, this precarious location, so badly, it's not funny.  9 years ago, it was such a gift to be able to stay here and reduce our debts, and have the woods around us.  Not anymore.  I want out.


Mike said...

Nice of them to ask. A number of years ago, a developer up my way "made a mistake" a clearcut several acres of forest that he did not own. He paid a fine, but the damage was done. Or the view enhanced, depending on who you favored.

Karma got him and he went belly up before he could build his development. But the trees are only now back in place, some four decades later.

southernyankee said...

Nature is so scary to some, and so anti-profit to others. And I thought we were the "stewards" of this planet. Guess for some that means "Let's wipe out nature before it gets us."
Oh well, climate change has begun in earnest. Pass out the life jackets, and ready the boats.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

We're kind of steeling ourselves for repercussions. Fortunately, if anyone happens to either dump herbicide on the slope to the water's edge, or "accidentally" flick a match into the brush, we can undertake a replanting very fast. The toll that either one would take on the wildlife is what we can't undo. It breaks our hearts to see such a rare and pretty place destroyed, but at some point we'll write this area off and try a place we can better protect.

Sherwood Harrington said...

I can't understand people who think that woods are ugly; that nature is too messy. That wildness is visually unappealing and needs to be neatened up.

I can't either, but evidently most of our ancestors -- in European lineage, anyway -- thought so. If I remember correctly from Art History many, many years ago, the idea that "untamed" wilderness is beautiful instead of ugly and threatening only dates back to the 1800s. What we think of as "landscape" now would have been hideous to the Founding Fathers, for example.

Their loss.

ronnie said...

About 20 years ago my best friend, having moved from Newfoundland to Ontario, wrote to me that "apparently the fashion here is to cut down all the trees that God grew and replant them in straight lines that God would never have approved of". Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Good luck. And I mean that sincerely.